Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

US Nuclear Bombs Assigned to Turkish Air Force

July 19, 2016

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Christopher Lee

20 July 2016, London

Forty American nuclear warheads have been assigned to the Turkish Air Force in the event of a nuclear conflict.

Those warheads are already in Turkey today, 20 July 2016.

There are 90 US primary thermonuclear bombs based in Turkey at Incirlik.

The weapons are part of an American nuclear deployment of approximately 200 nuclear bombs in what is called the US Enduring Stockpile retained after the end of the cold war between the West and the USSR in the late 1990s.

The bomb is called the B61.  It has a maximum yield of up to 340 kilotons according to the US Department of Defense and US Department of Energy.

The latest version is called the bunker buster and was once assumed to be a weapon that could be made available to Israel in an offensive against Iranian nuclear weapon manufacturing.

One of the B61 pilot’s targets from Europe would be the Russian wartime bunker beneath 1000 feet of granite at Kosvinsky Kamen in the northern Urals.

The reason for the B61 bombs in Turkey is part of a rarely discussed NATO plan. During a past NATO heads of government meeting it was agreed that under a scheme called Nato Nuclear Sharing Policy, 180 B61 bombs would be deployed in five countries in Europe: Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey.

Ninety B61 bombs were sent to Turkey and stored at Incirlik with an agreement that in time of war that moved towards “nuclear release” 40 of the bombs would be given to the Turkish Air Force.

This single arrangement demonstrates that Turkey is a major military member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Turkey joined NATO in 1952 just three years after the Alliance was formed on 4 April 1949. It has held a senior position at the table of equals ever since.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, President John F Kennedy agreed to remove US Jupiter ballistic missiles from Turkey in return for Russia’s climb down from the event that took the world close to nuclear war that year.

Today, NATO commands do not downplay the importance of Turkey that maintains the second biggest standing army (after the US) in the Alliance – around 640,000.  Turkey keeps its 8,000-troop high readiness 3rd Armour Corps entirely assigned to NATO. The Alliance Land Command HQ is at Izmir along with major NATO training centres and some 300 Turkish officers are in NATO commands.

Turkey may be the only Muslim state in NATO and may be more Asian to some than European but the country and its leadership however described is in no way fringe NATO – anyone who floats the idea of kicking out Turkey better read the list of its membership credentials, starting with the B61

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turkey: Now the clampdown. Just what Erdogan wanted

July 16, 2016

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Christopher Lee

16 July 2016, New York. A group of Turkish soldiers attempted to take over Turkey during the past 24 hours. Close on 200 people have been killed.  Others may die of their wounds. More than 1,500 plotters have been arrested.

Doctors in Freedom from Torture were warning of something like this earlier this year. There has been every sign of military rebellion and every indication of the consequence.

Some have suggested that the coup was controlled by government to allow it to sweep the country for other plotters in order to legitimise a new harsh line on political opponents.

The glorious triumph of the President’s return certainly gives an impression that the whole affair was stage managed.  Interesting that unarmed civilian government supporters against armed troops and it was all over in hours.

The severity of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s clampdown is so predictable that some might even think the military played into his hands – or worse.

However, what few understand is the military would claim it their legislated duty to stage a take over.

The Turkish military has the constitutional right to mount a coup – in time of internal tension. It has the right to hold the balance of power until such time that internal unrest is restored.

The Turkish military has history of claiming that right.

In 1960 Adnan Menderes the Prime Minister could not control the country.  The famous “colonels” commanded by Alparslan Turkes staged a coup d’etat Menderes wanted to discard reforms that would Westernise Turkey. The colonels executed the Prime Minister on 17 September 1960 and ruled until the following year.

Ten years later, Turkey under Prime Minister Salesman Demirel was in grave economic difficulties again. A series of moves including martial law under a civilian-military Cabinet and eleven different Prime Ministers failed to restore economic dignity to Turkey nor curb the corruption of the military. Thousands died.

In 1980 the military took over again with no great success other than increased corruption on their part. In 1997, through a threat from the colonels the Islamic Welfare Party-controlled government (now President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a member) was shut down.

Just three years ago 300 military were accused of plotting to remove Erdogan.

Could the colonels have even guessed they would be successful? If so, they would have needed bigger support from the rest of the army. There’s another aspect of this.

Just as the Shah of Persia always feared the mysterious figure of the Grand Ayatollah exiled in Paris – and as it turned out, rightly so – President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long feared the American self-exiled cleric, Fethullah Gulen.  The Turkish president believes Gulen encourages unrest and even rebellion.  Gulen says no.  The Iran/Persian example is too good and too recent not to be paranoid about.

Whatever the conspiracies, it is now certain that the Turkish leader will run a massive security sweep and with it will come as organisation such as Freedom from Torture @freedomfromturture) have a regime of torture and literally, political terror.  That any leader in that country with that history as outline above will fully understand and even reluctantly make happen.

It might be remembered that Turkey is a NATO member.  The practice of political and social government in that country is by and large totally unacceptable within the Alliance. Moreover, because of the regional refugee crisis many European states have suggested that Turkey’s challenge to be admitted as a member of the EU could be speeded up. Watch what happens after what appears to have been this weekend’s fiasco.

The Turkish government response would only advance the case for never allow Turkey even candidate EU membership under its present leadership and way of government.

 

 

Terrorism & War – Looking Good says Colonel Steve

February 26, 2016

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Christopher Lee

27 February 2016. London.

The colonel from the Pentagon looked the part.  Cleaner cut than a saint, with more medal ribbons than a pantomime hero.  He landed in the UK this past week with a word perfect mission.

He had come to to every newspaper and broadcaster that the war on IS (he uses Daesh) is right on schedule and IS/Daesh is taking a beating. He says the US-led coalition is killing terrorists leaders most days. Their bases are taking big hits, the armoured vehicles are been wasted.

Colonel Steve Warren was here to tell us that Daesh was beginning to lose. “We see them in a defensive crouch” he told us. No journalist mentioned that a panther springs from a crouch.

The fact that IS is on a killing high hit and having nauseating fun using beheaded cadavers as road blocks is a side issue for the colonel with a message.  He says we’ve got it wrong.

Who sent the colonel?  Answer: the people who believe that too many media reports from Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Libya are telling a different story.  They are undermining the reports, especially those relayed in Washington, that it is not long now before IS collapses.

About five or six months ago the same US sources were briefing British and French TV and newspaper hacks that ISIS was a second rate bunch of no-hopers that given political guts could be wiped out inside the Christian winter holiday.  The message is dulled. Hence the colonel’s visit. A regional scan shows why. From the Bosphorus to Tripoli via the Gulf there is a tragedy that just a few years back would not have got off the staring block.

The Turks are hitting the Kurds, the Kurds are hitting the Turks.  Sunni and Shia states and peoples are at war face to face or by proxy. The coalition is hymning the Syria ceasefire but the two main teams – IS and Bashar al-Assad are not signatories. IS does not care about a ceasefire.  Assad is bombing rebel backyards and is ready to go the extra 100 meters with I Told You So banners when the ceasefire crumbles. The Russians are happy to help them out.

Across the almost non-existent border in Iraq on Friday about 20 people were killed in a bombing of a Shia mosque (the government is Shia seeking revenge).  Who did it? Surely not IS who is on the run according to the colonel.  Yup.  The very same IS.  Ask the mourners at the Rasul al-Zam mosque.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah are training Houthi rebels to fight in Yemen and the Saudi are looking at target planning into Hezbollah.  Imagine the death toll.  Imagine the knock-on.  Meanwhile the Saudi bombing in Yemen appears as casual as cruelty can be in warfare.   Hitting civilian targets is good terrorist bombing.  It causes confusion and terror.

Before we leave that bit of the dusty world, two pipe bombs were found in Jerusalem at Herod’s Gate. Lots of shooting.  Lots of dying. Also Friday, a prediction that Gaza will be a death bed scene by 2020.  Next door in Egypt, President Sisi is telling his people, do not listen to others.  Just do as I say.

And in Libya, there is a meeting Monday to see if Libya may be split into three. The West recognises one group, detests and will fight the other while everyone will be hit by the third. It is a simple example of bloodbath created when the British, the French and the colonel’s employers go into something blazing saddles without guaranteeing the result they claim to be promising. Other examples? Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan with the dankness of Syrian dead joining the tragic tapestry of failure.

So best the colonel goes home. Best someone who writes the propaganda tours gets to understand that what we call the Middle East is seeking a new identity that is different from the one the West created for it in the 1920s. IS emerged because the Western-led coalition got it wrong.

And, let us hope and those who do these things, let them pray that the crouching IS not about to leap with another Paris.  When a well turned out colonel tells them they are losing, they may just have to prove they are not in the crudest manner.

 

 

 

Christopher Lee

November 21, 2012

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Turkey Wants A Bite At The Gaza Truce Deal But It’s Hilary Who Cuts The Mustard

21st November 2012

There was a chance of a cease-fire. It may not be peace, but it was a chance and President Obama’s timing is good. Only go with the chance. So US Secretary of State was dispatched by Obama to talk mediation in Israel and Egypt. That’s how bad the Gaza war has got.  Obama has to support Israel but has also to keep up his doubtful role as peace-maker.  

But it’s not just magic.  Hilary’s come good at this sort of thing and the timing was right because America can still cut the mustard with Israel and Egypt who needed the hi-class go-between act she brought to town.

So, as Ms Clinton arrived the truce talking over Gaza stuttered as everyone knew it would. The Israelis carried on bombing anyone who was in the way of their bombs and Hamas lost at least half its world public sympathy when it executed five alleged Mossad informers and dragged one of their bodies behind a motorbike.

That is the way of warfare on this scale. Many maimed and worse so no winners for more than a few moments.  It once was, but is no longer, the counting of shrouds that decided the ritual of truce. Hilary arrived when both sides had nowhere to go and Israel had killed enough for the time being and Hamas was running out of rockets and firing options. It’s not peace. It’s a truce Now truce is nothing but a breather before returning to the full the tragedy.

While the truce-makers congregated in the usual scrummage of untutored diplomacy, there remained one on-looker to prove that the consequence of the Gaza war has spread into the region without a shot being fired.  The onlooker is Turkey whose leadership during the past half decade has seen itself as an important game-maker in the region but now finds itself sidelined.

Turkey has during this war spoken for what it understandably sensed is Arab opinion.

The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan proclaimed at the weekend that his administration does not have “any connections in terms of dialogue with Israel”. He also said that Israel is a terrorist state and, responsible for ethnic cleansing.  Arabs love to hear that especially having the comfort that Turkey has not shaken hands with Israel since the 2008 Israeli invasion Gaza. Then came the Israeli commando raid on a vessel bound from Turkish port to Gaza.  Turks died.

Not surprising then that Erdogan’s rep is secure although it appear he is too anti-Israel to be of much dimplomatic help, which was not what he had intended in spite of the experiences in Turko-Israeli relations during the past four years.

None should doubt his message: we do not talk in the devil’s tongue as the Cambridge Dostoyevskian  scholar Edward Sands said.

Such posture (or is really posturing?) does not do well for a straight back ambition to influence neighbors and stand noticeably in a regional and global stage. Such qualified position as not talking to the Israelis puts Erdogan at a disadvantage if he wants to be respected as power broker.  That’s why his foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu was on his way to the Arab League meeting on Tuesday hinting that Turkey was back-channeling peace discussions with Israeli officials.  Nothing wrong with that – although nothing has come from those channels, as yet.

Turkey has to accept that in this single area, the Egyptians are the lead players. The Egyptian leader Mohammed Morsi maybe on a learning curve, but his voice for the moment is the only one that matters.  Forget the Muslim Brotherood/Hams connection. That’s margin stuff. The reality is that Egypt needs Israel. Israel needs Egypt.  They’re neighbors and no one forgets the Yom Kippur War.

It is true that Egypt is the only nation that can talk to both sides. In the end, talking counts and, more realistically, Turkey has to remember that if you need peace then you have to talk to your enemies, not your friends.

Aware of the no-talk conundrum, last week one of Erdogan’s colleagues in the Justice and Development Party reflected that to regain position as a peace maker, it was perhaps time for talks with Israel. However, Erdogan cannot retrace steps so easily. Furthermore, he has been slow on the Gaza stage. He did go to Cairo, but that was a long-planned economic visit and as much as he tried, Erdogan came home a bit player.

For now, Turkey is no game maker in the region, perhaps even less that it was five years back. For the moment, until the next Gaza war starts, that doesn’t matter because there is another side of the story that goes beyond peace making.

Erdogan appears to think that this agreement will be a truce, not peace. It will last as long as one side wants to it before renewing hostilities. Best then to slightly distance himself from the current process and get on with his immediate difficulty, the war in Syria.

There’s diplomatic patching to be done and positions to assume for Mr Erdogand because he wants to be in the lead team in about eighteen months when the Israel-Gaza thing erupts once more. Why then? Because that’s when the Turkish debate on who should be the next President will be at full throttle.  So what? Simple, Erdogan The Middle East Game Maker wants the job. Such is the way of ambition and opportunity in the region.